Has there ever been a place or a store nearby that you just kept meaning to visit, but then things always happened or you kept forgetting or whatever? That’s the way I was for years with the Pickens, South Carolina, Flea Market. First of all, the thing is held on Wednesday, and second of all it is a bit off the beaten path. But last week the stars finally aligned and I was off to check out Pickens.
I guess the most important thing to realize about Pickens is that it is a true flea market. The booths of antiques and old stuff are far out-numbered by booths of new merchandise, fresh produce and this-‘n-that. But this is the type of place where the potential of scoring big is present if one is patient and very lucky. The second most important thing to know is that this place opens early – 4 am – and by 11 am dealers are starting to leave. I didn’t get there until 9, and that made me very late.
Even though it was a chilly late winter day, the place was quite busy, but I can guess that when the weather improves that there will be even more activity. As it was, It took me two hours to make my way through it all. I’ll probably go back before the summer and hot South Carolina temperatures hit. I can imagine that place is pretty miserable at 90*.
My only purchases were a Lilly Pulitzer dress for my great-niece and a shirt I’ll share later on. All I’ll say is that it involves the Beatles and embroidery.
I probably would have bought this great old sticker if the dealer had been within sight. Why have a booth if you are going to wander off instead of tending to your business?
That is pretty much it from the flea market. I took the long way home, wandering through some of the small towns of the region, hitting an antique mall or two. The one above is in Easley (where the famous Swirl wrap dress was manufactured). This is the old Mountain View Hotel, and is worth visiting just to see the structure. Built in 1872, the rooms now house the different booths of merchandise. Note the omnipresent 1980s second marriage dress hanging on the wall.
Here’s one of the guestrooms. Note the fireplace.
Further on up the road in Walhalla is another mall I’ve visited in the past. The last time I was there they had an entire room of old clothes to dig through. It was, unfortunately, no more, but I love an enticing rack of clothes, as you just never know what will be stuck in there. There was some teenager’s 1966 wardrobe of skirts that you can see there in the middle of the rack.
And then there was this pretty silk 1920s frock.
I probably should have bought this because my mother-in-law had the Monday of this set.
And sometimes I do wonder where my head is. I passed on this album which held a bunch of 45’s (that’s those little records with the big hole for you young ones). The writing on the front disturbed me, as did the presence of the 45’s (just a lot more things I did not need…), but now I have non-buyer’s remorse.
click to enlarge